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Tottenham round-up: Frank Lampard tips Dele Alli for greatness; Burnley’s Andre Gray linked; Max Meyer’s contract breakthrough



Despite Chelsea matching Tottenham’s hand in the Premier League title race and maintaining their seven point advantage at the top of the table over the weekend, the nature of Spurs’ 4-0 win over Watford served to indicate that they will not give up the chase until the end of the season, no matter how futile it may seem given the Blues’ run of form.

One of the stars of the victory over Watford, and indeed for the entirety of this campaign and even last season, has been youngster Dele Alli. The man signed from MK Dons the summer before last has been a revelation for the White Hart Lane club, the first great marker of his progress being his breaking into the England fold in late 2015. Having established himself in the first-team for both club and country, he has gone from strength-to-strength, netting 14 goals in 13 games in 2017 alone, taking his overall tally for Tottenham to 26 goals and 14 assists in just two seasons in the Premier League.

Such form hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst legends of the game, and former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has heaped tremendous praise on the youngster, declaring him firmly in the running alongside Chelsea stars Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kanté for Premier League Player of the Year, plus tipping him to break his own Premier League career goal-scoring record from midfield.

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Having had a hand in a combined 40 goals, Alli is already superior to Lampard’s record at the age of 21, with Alli celebrating his own 21st birthday on Tuesday. Lampard’s career record stands at 177 goals in the top-flight during spells at West Ham United, Chelsea, and Manchester City, but believes that given his early career form, Alli is well on his way to beating him, having already surpassed the likes of Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, and David Beckham at the same age.

“Dele Alli is a special player”, Lampard told the Daily Mirror. “He’s better than me when I was 20, that’s for sure! He is like a second striker at the moment, but that makes sense with the way they play.

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“He scores goals like he did against Watford, but he’s also in the six-yard box scoring. Too many attacking midfield players get to the penalty spot and stop, don’t go that extra mile.

“We talk about Hazard being the best player in the league, I don’t think Dele Alli is that far away from him. Could he score more than me? He could. Of all the midfield players I’ve seen who scores goals, he’s the one who is the best at it.”

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Such form hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst world football’s giants, however, and future silverware may well prove vital if Spurs are to keep young talents like Dele Alli on-board at the Lane. One weakness that may not have proven detrimental this campaign but has caught the eye of pundits and supporters if the club’s lack of depth in the striking position, with Harry Kane and Vincent Janssen the only recognised out-and-out forwards on the clubs books.

It is a problem, however, which manager Mauricio Pochettino is looking to rectify, despite the versatility of Son Heung-Min to double-up and play in the middle, and to this end the club are thought to be considering a summer bid for Burnley hot-shot Andre Gray, according to the Daily Mirror

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Gray has netted nine times in his first season in the top-flight for the Clarets, but the 25-year-old only has 12 months left to run on his current deal at Turf Moor, having arrived from Brentford for £9 million back in 2015 before firing the Lancashire side back to the big time. The forward may, therefore, be available for a cut-price move at the end of the season, with further funds potentially to be made available with the sale of Vincent Janssen, who, despite encouraging form recently, has failed to repay his hefty price-tag with goals following his summer move from AZ Alkmaar.

Meanwhile, Tottenham remain on red alert in the transfer window, after FC Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel informed German outlet Bild that Spurs transfer target Max Meyer is currently not in negotiations with the Gelsenkirchen club over a contract extension.

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The 21-year-old has just over a year left to run on his current deal at the Veltins Arena, and were he to opt against putting pen to paper, the report claims Meyer may be made available for as little as 20 million euros, an ideal price given Spurs’ current financial constraints over their new stadium.

“At the moment it does not make any sense to think about an extension,” Bild quotes Heidel as saying in German. “Max has to convince the coach that he belongs in the starting 11.”

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Scott is a Port Vale fan who writes regularly for The Boot Room as a freelancer. He is a fan of several sports but most of his experience in journalism comes from football and volleyball. He has produced several works on major Championships for both the FIVB and CEV in the volleyball world out in Switzerland, and is currently studying for a BA Hons in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.

English Premier League

Clement Lenglet is the perfect replacement for Toby Alderweireld

The French defender has been in fine form for Sevilla.



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When Manchester United were dumped out of the Champions League by Sevilla last week, plenty of the La Liga side’s players put in heroic displays.

Wissam Ben Yedder, the goalscorer of both Sevilla’s goals on the night received the highest praise. However, it was defender Clement Lenglet who deserved the biggest plaudits.

The 22-year-old did a wonderful job of shackling Romelu Lukaku for most of the game, putting in a brave and assured performance at centre-back.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It was a display that undoubtedly won him some fans, and Tottenham Hotspur should be one of them.

It looks increasingly likely that Tottenham will lose Toby Alderweireld in the summer.

HLN in Belgium reported this week that Spurs have ended contract talks with the Belgian and are prepared to sell him for £43 million.

Tottenham, therefore, have a potential gap in the centre-back position.

Lenglet is the perfect option. Not only is he good enough, as he proved by United last week, but he fits the profile of a Tottenham signing.

The Sevilla defender is just 22 years of age and has years ahead of him to develop. Then, there is his release clause.

According to a recent report from Diario ASthe Frenchman has a release clause of just €30 million (£26.2 million).

Such a fee for a player of his talent and his age would amount to daylight robbery.

Lenglet, who only joined Sevilla from Nancy last summer, would be the perfect option for Spurs to replace Alderweireld.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He could rotate with fellow young talent Davinson Sanchez playing alongside the more experienced Jan Vertonghen in defence.

With a Frenchman behind him in Hugo Lloris and French speaker in Vertonghen, he would not have to worry much about the language barrier just yet.

Strong, fast, capable on the ball and a raw talent he is exactly the sort of player Mauricio Pochettino could mould into a future Tottenham star.

Alderweireld’s exit will no doubt be a shame for Tottenham.

Nonetheless, if they can bring in Lenglet for £17 million less than they sell the Belgian for, the club will have pulled off a masterstroke.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham should fear Toby Alderweireld’s potential exit

Losing the Belgian international would be a huge blow for the Lilywhites.



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Reports from Belgian outlet Het Laatse Nieuws have linked Tottenham centre-half Toby Alderweireld with a £43 million exit from Spurs this summer after the north London club reportedly gave up on contract negotiations.

The loss of the Belgian international would be a severe blow to the Tottenham defense, as well as to the image of the club.

If Spurs want to take the next step and seriously challenge for the Premier League title and advance to the latter stages of the Champions League, they must keep hold of their biggest talents.

Alderweireld has been imperious for the north London side ever since he joined from Atlético Madrid in the summer of 2015. After impressing on loan with Southampton in the 2014/15 season, the centre-half excelled at White Hart Lane.

(Photo by Adrian Dennis/Getty Images)

An integral part of the impressive Spurs teams of 2015/16 and 2016/17, Alderweireld was an ever-present in the backline. He played every single match in 2015/16 and 30 matches the following season.

And not coincidentally, these years coincided with tremendous defensive fortitude for Tottenham. In both seasons, Spurs boasted the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 35 and 26 goals respectively- a truly remarkable feat.

Yet this season, the Belgian’s involvement has been severely hindered due to a hamstring injury. Consequently, Spurs remain well off the pace for the title race and have already conceded 25 goals, almost surpassing the previous season’s total with eight matches to spare.

If the rumours of his impending departure are correct, Tottenham will suffer a major blow to their back four. Physically imposing and tactically adept, Alderweireld has been a colossus in the centre of defense for Spurs for three years now.

Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth are simply not capable replacements for the Belgian international, and a loss of Alderweireld would spell trouble for Tottenham’s title chances and European ambition in 2018/19.

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English Premier League

£43m for Toby Alderweireld would be great business for Tottenham Hotspur

It seems that the Belgian defender is definitely on his way out of Tottenham Hotspur.



It seems as though Toby Alderweireld is on his way out of Tottenham Hotspur.

It is being reported by Het Laatse Nieuws today that the Belgian’s contract talks with Spurs have been halted.

With the Belgian out of contract in the summer of 2019, Spurs will attempt to cash in on Alderweireld now.

A fee of £43 million has been mentioned for the player, who reportedly wanted a wage to match that of Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool.

Tottenham’s stance of not paying out big wages to their top players has often been criticised. But on this occasion, the Lilywhites are doing the right thing.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

On his day and when fit, Alderweireld might be the best centre-back in the Premier League. However, it has been a long time since the Belgian had such a day.

Most of this season has seen Alderweireld on the treatment table. When he has played, it has always seemed a precursor to his next injury.

Given his age and contract situation, the injury record gives Alderweireld three strikes. At £43 million, Tottenham would be getting a fantastic deal for their defender.

The report from HLN claimed that Alderweireld wanted a wage in the region of €180,000-a-week (£160,000-a-week). Such a sum is vast for a player with his current issues.

The fact Spurs were reportedly willing to go as high as €120,000 (£105,000) per week shows that Daniel Levy tried to keep the Belgian, even doubling his current wage, but Alderweireld is on his way.

It will be a shame for Spurs but breaking the wage structure at the club for an injury prone defender would not have been a wise move.

Eventually, Tottenham might have to be more lenient with their wages, but that should be saved for the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen.

Tottenham should take £43 million for Alderweireld and persevere with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth.

Alderweireld’s next club will hope they can keep the Belgian fit long enough to reap the rewards of his potential signature.

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